Penn Jillette keeps talking about The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker on his Sunday radio show, Penn's Sunday School, so I figured I'd check out what all the fuss was about.
The book was a stream-of-consciousness account of a moment in the life of an office worker as he takes his lunch break down an escalator to buy replacement shoelaces. I was worried the subject matter would be pretty banal and pointless, the intelligent, thought-provoking, and philosophical writing style actually made it come to life.
It was reassuring to hear echoed by the author the same thoughts and reactions that I and others have about the little things around us in life: the straws that rise up out of drinks frustratingly, the slower cashiers at CVS, the inventiveness of the engineers who designed the perforations in toilet paper, etc. On the one hand, it seems like none of these things really matter, but this is wrong; they matter a lot because all of us interact with these things practically every day. The point isn't that the main values in life come from these small objects; the point is that these small objects shouldn't be forgotten or dismissed, and that there is a lot to appreciate even in the minutiae of life.
The real world -- nature, science, people -- is so fascinating at every level of inspection, no matter how close you look (sort of like a fractal).